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Title : Cultural Revolt in a Colonial Society: The Non-Brahman Movement in Western India
Author : Gail Omvedt
Edition : HardBack
ISBN : 9788173049279
Pages : 332
Year of Pub : 2021 ( 1st Published in 1976 )
Price : Rs 995.00
The colonial period saw important social movements in India. Among the strongest of these was the non-Brahman movement in Maharashtra. Its founder was a remarkable intellectual and social activist from the gardener (Mali) caste, Jotirao Phule (1827-90). His writings laid the foundations of the movement, and the Satyashodhak Samaj (‘Truthseekers Society’) which he founded in 1873, became its primary radical organization, lasting until the 1930s.
Shahu Maharaj, the Maratha maharaja of Kolhapur, who turned against Brahmans because they considered him a shudra, and became radicalized from this, was a major patron. The heyday of the movement took place between 1910 and 1930, when the Satyashodhak Samaj carried the message of anti-caste anti-Brahmanism throughout Maharashtra; one of its offshoots was a strong peasant movement.
In the 1920s a political party emerged, as did Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s Dalit movement, which drew sustenance also from support of the non-Brahmans and patrons such as Shahu Maharaj. Young radicals such as Keshavrao Jedhe and Dinkarrao Javalkar challenged Brahman cultural dominance in Pune and intervened in the Brahman-dominated Communist movement in Mumbai.
By the 1930s, however, the movement died away as the majority of its activists joined Congress. It has left a strong heritage, but the failure to really link nationalism with a strong anti-caste movement has left a heritage of continued and often unadmitted dominance of caste in Indian society today.

Gail Omvedt currently holds the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Chair of Social Change and Development at IGNOU. She has over the years worked actively with social movements in India, including the Dalit, anti-caste, environmental and farmers’ movements and especially with rural women.


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